Federal investigators began looking into a suspected grow house in Boca Raton back in 2011. But just a few days after they began their inquiry, the prime suspect allegedly fled the country for Costa Rica.
Now, the 69-year-old has been extradited from the Central American country to face charges of illegal marijuana cultivation. However, The Sun-Sentinel reports the man, appearing recently before a Palm Beach County judge, insists he was never an international fugitive because he wasn’t hiding. He pointed to the fact that he continued to pay his taxes to the Internal Revenue Service. What’s more, he was collecting his Social Security payments addressed to Costa Rica and he was even registered with the U.S. Embassy there. He also opened a cigar store and lounge in the capital city and gave interviews to local media.
Ultimately, it was a local dispute regarding his cigar store that garnered the attention of local officials, who later discovered he was wanted in the U.S. He later agreed to the extradition to the U.S. on the marijuana grow house charges, which were filed after he left the country. Investigators say there were a total of 984 marijuana plants on the property. Continue reading